Belmont Club

The Zero Carbon House and other curiosities

We live in a kinder, gentler world. Take war. Once it involved destroying things. Today it involves thinking dangerous things.

Could Playing Video Games Be a War-Crime?: “Christian Rouffaer, head of the ICRC’s international humanitarian law and videogames project, says that ‘a soldier trained on a computer or by any other means to shoot wounded enemy combatants would probably not be the only one to be prosecuted as it is primarily the responsibility of his commander to train, educate and to give him lawful orders.’ In other words according to Rouffaer, military training that violates the Geneva Conventions is still a crime — even if that training is virtual.”

Now take peace. A house is not a home unless it’s zero-carbon home.

The Zero Carbon House:
The New York Times says, “Now one of the most exacting standards, called ‘passive house,’ is making its way to the United States from Europe. Passive, or ‘zero energy,’ houses maintain a comfortable interior climate without active heating and cooling systems, according to the Passivhaus Institut, which administers the standard. That is achieved through a system of interior and exterior air exchange, an airtight building envelope and energy-saving appliances, among other things.”

One problem is cost. “Historically, green homes have fetched a premium,” said Brendan Aguayo. There are proposals to make zero-carbon the new standard for home construction in the UK, perhaps as early as 2016. Builders have complained it will price new homes out of the market. It will also require upgrading the entire electricity grid.

Dr. Leslie Campbell is set to … look at the challenges that stand in the way of the government’s aim for all new houses to be zero carbon rated by 2016. …
to make a home completely zero carbon, equivalent to level 6 in the new code, means roughly 4000kWh of generation, which could cost anything from £5,000 to £50,000, for say photovoltaics. A typical 100m2 home built to these new standards will likely need to produce about 15,000kWh. … will Europe establish a ‘supergrid’ for a new, low-carbon era?

These changes will require an investment in new, carbon-friendly requirements. British builders estimate it will add from 30 to 50 thousand pounds at a minimum to each new house. British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace said: “There is no hope of zero carbon homes.”

But wait. Those homeowners or builders who are unable to meet the zero-carbon targets have other options. For example, they can pay into a fund which lets them live in a normal house, while their monies are used to perform good environmental works elsewhere. Saving the Earth is only as far as the distance between your easy chair and checkbook.

In a written ministerial statement, Mr Shapps said: ‘Many interested parties have argued for a community energy fund, enabling zero carbon to be met partly through contributions to a fund used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, allowing developers to meet their carbon obligations cost-effectively.

‘It will be important that any approach operates in a way that demonstrates transparently that real carbon savings are achieved. We will now work with local authorities and industry on how best to do that.’

He said the recently confirmed community infrastructure levy provided a mechanism for local authorities to achieve a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions locally, through investment in local renewable energy infrastructure.

These are but small costs to pay for the privilege of living on a sustainable planet. Authorities are gradually cleaning up after the slovenly bitter clingers, taking care at each step, to keep the new requirements affordable and reasonable. Take for instance, one group of bitter clingers, the farmers. They have been given more time to amend their evil ways. Noxious dust, for example, could soon go away.

The House on Thursday approved legislation Republicans said was aimed at ensuring the EPA cannot regulate so-called “farm dust.”

The House on Thursday afternoon approved legislation which Republicans said was aimed at ensuring that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot regulate so-called “farm dust.” …

A statement from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson earlier this year that the agency now has no plans to issue any such rule did not deter Republicans from pushing ahead with the bill, which they said would create certainty that no rule would come out.

“Despite Administrator Jackson’s statement, there is nothing currently on the books preventing the EPA from adopting a stricter regulation,” Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) said. “This legislation provides iron-clad certainty to farmers, ranchers, small business owners that farm dust would stay off the EPA’s to-do list for at least another year.”

In this gradual but steady manner, progress marches on. A new and better world could be nearer than we think if we would all join hands and work together. Remember. Be careful what video games you choose to purchase this Christmas. You may be guilty of a war crime without knowing it and worse, be aware that the electricity that your video card consumes could make you a carbon criminal!

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